Nobody can have missed the fact that Rocco, Madonna’s 15 year old son wants to stay in London and live with his father. Who can blame him – London the coolest place on the planet for a teenager and… he did live here before.
What people can’t grasp is why Madonna is fighting this through the courts. She has the benefit no doubt of the most expensive legal advice. She is highly sophisticated and knows that her son’s wishes and feelings will be accorded a major determining factor. Is she just wasting her money and ruining her relationship with her son? What court is going to physically force him to return to New York if he refuses? Indeed he is old enough to have his own legal representation so he does not need to rely on his father to cross swords with his mother.
He has been ordered to return by an American court and he has not done so. Now it is reported that Madonna is pursuing the fight through the English courts and there is a further hearing in the New York Supreme Court on 5th March.
What has gone wrong? Reading the reports it appears that Madonna is a disciplinarian and Guy is more laid back. The contrast in parenting styles being apparent even when they were together. Madonna enforces a macrobiotic diet – no phones, no TV and anything left on the floor is thrown out. By contrast – Guy is pictured bike riding with Rocco and there are reports Rocco has been seen smoking.
There is also a large section of the press decrying Madonna’s parenting skills – she is a dictator and spends all her time working – her children are forced to go on tour with her and she spends no time with them. Rocco left when she confiscated his phone and because she did not spend time with him.
This story sounds familiar. Lots of teenagers rebel – Madonna included. Lots of teenagers would leave home if they had a more comfortable alternative. I am sure lots of adults would like the alternative of running away to escape their responsibilities and to be allowed to live a less restrictive life and still have their every need taken care of.
There are all sorts of reasons why Madonna could be doing this. Maybe she needs to show Rocco she loves him enough to fight for him.. Maybe she is fearful he will sink into addictions or other self destructive behaviour with a looser leash. Maybe she just needs to be in charge and win everything. Maybe she is devastated and this is the only thing she can think of to get her son back.
What is Guy Ritchie’s motive in all this? Why has he not sent Rocco back? Is he just trying to win against Madonna? Or does he believe she is too strict? That she is not there enough? That she is not supporting their son enough? Or not concerned with his happiness enough?
Children act applications are decided on what is in the best interest of the child. Parental acrimony is not in the child’s interest. Long term and repeated parental conflict is emotionally damaging – children do less well at school – are less able to have fulfilling relationships and are more anxious and unhappy. Who wants that for their child?
This Government would like parents in this situation to mediate – negotiate the matter calmly with a neutral facilitator and to make parenting decisions jointly. Work together to come up with a joint parenting plan.
If only the emotion could be taken out of these conflicts and both sides could learn to compromise. Easy to say – very difficult to do.
Here’s what Rocco needs to remember – you only have one mum. She may not be perfect but she is your mum. Nine months is a long time when you are 15 but focus on getting a better deal from mum for now and set a deadline – if things do not improve – big changes can take place – but with everyone in accord.